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Tolerance and Love

Our Father in Heaven loves all of His children . . . .In fact: God is Love.

Peter taught that “God is no respecter of persons: “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

In his conference talk on tolerance and love, Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that “real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994, 71)

Below are the words of Russell M Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have taken the liberty of using part of his talk as I feel they are most applicable today. He too used that quote from Acts 10:34-35, then said:

“Yet His children can be so intolerant with one another. Neighboring factions, whether they be identified as groups or gangs, schools or states, counties or countries, often develop animosity. Such tendencies make me wonder: Cannot boundary lines exist without becoming battle lines? Could not people unite in waging war against the evils that beset mankind instead of waging war on each other? Sadly, answers to these questions are often no. Through the years, discrimination based on ethnic or religious identity has led to senseless slaughter, vicious pogroms, and countless acts of cruelty. The face of history is pocked by the ugly scars of intolerance.

“While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity.

“We are grateful for the many examples of heroic service rendered in times of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other disasters. Such cooperative efforts to help neighbors in distress transcend any barriers posed by religion, race, or culture. Those good deeds are latter-day love in action!

“Of course we are concerned with the need for ambulances in the valley below. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the greater need for protective guardrails on the cliffs above. Limited resources needed for the accomplishment of the higher work cannot be depleted in rescue efforts that provide only temporary relief.

“The biblical prophet Nehemiah must have felt that same commitment to his important calling. When he was asked to divert attention away from his primary purpose, he replied: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? (Nehemiah 6:3)

“Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness.”

“The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.” (Matthew 21:12) Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D&C 1:31) His Apostle Paul specified some of those sins in a letter to the Galatians. The list included “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Galatians 5: 19-21)

“To Paul’s list I might add the regrettable attitudes of bigotry, hypocrisy, and prejudice. These were also decried in 1834 by early Church leaders who foresaw the eventual rise of this church “amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites.” The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that “prejudices may give way before the truth.” (D&C 109:56,70) Hatred stirs up strife ( Proverbs 10:12) and digs beneath the dignity of mature men and women in our enlightened era.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, at this time in America many are trying to distract us from what is so important. Jesus Christ taught us to love others as we love ourselves. Remember, those who practice an “eye for an eye” only leave an entire nation of blind people.

Another of my favorite teachers was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She once said,

“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.” (Mother Teresa)

It is my prayer that we will follow the Saviour and stop feeding into the world’s hatred. Rather, let us love and do good wherever we may be.

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A Most Precious Book

Many years ago, two young men gave me a book. They told me that within it’s pages I would find truth. As I read from it’s pages, I saw what they told me earlier was truth.  I would like to share a few of the things I learned from this wonderful book that night.

This is part of the story of a man by the name of Lehi. He too was a visionary person, and one time he had a dream wherein he saw a tree. This is part of his dream:

“And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

“And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. (1 Nephi 8: 11-13)

For me, the “fruit” that he spoke of, was the Holy Scriptures. In years past I had read from the Holy Bible, the words of Isaiah, other prophets and even Jesus Christ and his Apostles. I had read how wonderful it was for people who were treated poorly or shunned by others to follow those who could lead them to God. Growing up, I had wanted a Father as the father of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego who sent His Son to save them from wicked people who wanted to kill them. When those two young men left that blue book, I sat up all night reading, and towards the end of the night and early dawn, I read these words:

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.”

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

“And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.”

“And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.” (Moroni 10:3-7)

I would like to invite you to get a copy of this book and read it for yourself. It is called, “The Book of Mormon.”

Mormon was a man who was very valient in preserving the records of the descendants of Lehi as well as others who lived on the American Continent prior to Columbus; prior to the Pilgrims; prior to most other nations. God had instructed him to hide them up so they would not be destroyed. God had made a promise to His people that in the last days those records would come forth to help teach those who really did not know Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. This is why the book is named after him.

Since God never lies, and Mormon knew that, he buried them up and many centuries later, another man, asked God which Church to join. Many churches use that same Holy Bible, only different versions of it, but they all teach different things. But that is for another day. Just now, I invite you to read and then pray and ask God yourself if this true or not.

You can obtain a free copy at: http://www.mormon.org/  If you have any question, there are people there 24/7 and someone will be more than happy to answer your questions. If you don’t want to talk, you may request a copy of the book and no one will bother you.

Always remember, and never forget: Jesus Christ died for you personally. God is your Heavenly Father and He loves you, personally. It is up to you, personally, to learn that for yourself, so you too may have a personal testimony of this truth.

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Thoughts of the night

2 Nephi 11:5
5 And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.

Today, my soul has been receiving comfort from saints around the world, as we all pray together for those who are suffering, and I am a recipient of those prayers as well. The news that I have to suffer until my death due to those things others did to me in the past breaks my heart, yet I know that after I leave this body I shall be with God and those whom love me.

Psalms
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
My plea has been that I could dwell in the house of the Lord forever, nonetheless, this is not how it is to be. Yet, I shall serve the Lord my God, all the days of my life. Selah.

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To my son

I take this from the Book of Mormon, yet the words are not only Alma’s they are mine:

My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.

I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions. (You know that I came when I learned of where you were. God blessed me with you that night – thank you for saving me from your friends.)

And now, O my son (Phillip), behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.

And I would not that ye think that I know of myself—not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God.

Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy angel, made these things known unto me, not of any worthiness of myself;

My sweet man, now. You are no longer my little boy. I only held you from birth until you were a two week old baby, then again in Colorado in 1989. My son, when I found you at 17, I could not hold. You were someone else’s son. The only reason I knew it was you is because you looked so much like your father. When your step-mother, or whomever that lady was in Colorado said, “What kind of a mother are you to not even recognize your own children.” she was right. A big difference between a child being fed at my breast and a man sitting there in a full beard and long hair. Nonetheless, when I looked into your eyes, I recognized you.

The reason I sat so long holding my hands together that night was because I was pleading with Father to help me be calm and not feel the pain of the words being thrown at me. I had wanted so badly to see you both that I did not want this moment to end.

Now, all these years have gone by, and I am almost ready to go back to my heavenly home. Perhaps, if it is Father’s will, I can see you when you and Rebecca leave this earth. If not, know this. I never stopped loving you.

The picture was taken when I did not know who you were. I just knew you and your sister were sitting on a swing and I pushed you. Larry brought you to my home and your grandfather took this picture of us. By the time I got a copy of it, you were a full grown man. Pain knows no bounds at times. Yet, this little picture has been in my home, in a place of honor,  since I received it. I used to have a small statue of Jesus holding little children, and I taped it to that. Then, I found a woman who had lost her children to death and gave her the statue, but I kept this picture next to my mission theme. I have Christ in my heart, so I only needed to see you and Rebecca once in awhile to be comforted. Now that your grandfather is gone, I was blessed by your Aunt Pat to get the picture of you two on your second birthday. The one where Rebecca had three candles and you had two on the same cake, and you both were smiling. I have that hanging on my kitchen cupboards. Good night my sweet one.

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